Doing it for themselves

2015-08-04 06:01
The reading room at Duneside Primary School in Westridge was donated by Living Through Learning and sponsored by the Coronation Group about a year ago. Here the pupils get active assistance from external tutors once a month. But the school is also ta

The reading room at Duneside Primary School in Westridge was donated by Living Through Learning and sponsored by the Coronation Group about a year ago. Here the pupils get active assistance from external tutors once a month. But the school is also ta

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The school is next in line for a R1m revamp project. But even so they are taking steps to make a difference on their own terms. With passionate staff members and innovative ideas, Duneside Primary School in Westridge aims to improve the lives of its pupils and the community.

There is a lot of good coming from the school, with a reading room donated by Living Through Learning and a soup kitchen feeding more than 200 pupils per day.

Celine Dryding, acting deputy principal, says they are on the up and up despite challenges.

“The school has grown from 200 pupils three years ago to more than 600 this year,” she says.

There has been an influx of children bussed in from the townships because the principal is well-versed in their mother tongue.

“We cannot say we are totally sufficient, but we are managing,” Dryding says. She mentions that text books and reading or class aids are but some of the shortfalls.

But passionate principal Cliff Chateau has found a way to lessen the load.

With the feeding scheme and cleaning of the property, the school collects recyclable goods. These are all used by the school as teaching aides.

“Anything can be a teaching aid,” says Chateau.

He is creating a tool to help the class compare the rates at which different metals conduct heat.V

These home-made recycled versions of the tool costs less than R1, instead of R80 new.

“This is how we do things at Duneside. I don’t believe that if you don’t have something you should say ‘Oh poor me’, you should say ‘Well, what can I do?’ ” he says.

He has also created trophies from broken desks and taught his Science class how to create their own thermometers.
“I believe in practical learning. I wish I was a child in my class because we did not have this when I was at school,” he jokes.
Dryding says that although a beautification project is on the way, there are still several shortfalls at the school.

“The fence has been stolen piece by piece and we had one incident at the school where a teacher was robbed,” she says. The robber gained access via the dune alongside the school. But such incidents are not common, says Dryding.

She says there are many areas in which parents can help.“Parents can come in and assist the Foundation phase with reading by becoming teachers’ assistants. We find that many of the children struggle with that,” she says. The school is also in need of expertise to help with routine maintenance. Another item on their wish list is a fridge for the school feeding scheme.
To get involved call Minaaz in the school office on 021 392 1819.

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